A Little Tired Of Waiting For The New Kelley Stoltz Album, We Started Listening To His “Crockodials”

We have been waiting, by our standards patiently, for the new Kelley Stoltz album, Double Exposure.  Promised for the spring of 2013, long since mixed and mastered, we keep going to iTunes, and to Kelley’s website, hoping for news of its release, only to be disappointed.  Imagine a Rolls Royce, or a pair of John Lobb boots, in which a single craftsman has produced it all — every part hammered home by the same hands that made the part — and yeah, you get a sense of how carefully produced each of Kelley’s albums that emerge from his San Francisco atelier actually is.  But if that makes him sound precious, consider the following.

While waiting for the new ‘un, we went back to where it all began, at least for us, and that’s Kelley’s 2002 release of Crockodials, in which he recorded, all by his’self, each of the songs on Echo and The Bunnymen’s 1980 debut, Crocodiles.  It is brilliant rock’n’roll, that rare homage that, even as each song is lovingly recreated, comes out fresh, new, a revelation.  If you think that Camper Van Beethoven’s version of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk was a curiously obsessive one-joke album; if, like those of us at Tulip Frenzy, you were disappointed that the great Capsula went into the studio with Ivan Julian to remake David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, rather than a new album, that’s not, we assure you, what Stoltz did on Crockodials.  In a way, he test drove his whole schtick by artfully remaking that great Echo and the Bunnymen album.  And it worked.

If you go to the original today, it still holds up.  Echo and the Bunnymen, in 1980, produced an album as alive today as it was then.  The rare British band that knelt at the altar of both Television and Talking Heads, the album jangles with guitar pop and not the synthesizers just then beginning to rule the post-punk British charts.  By reducing the album even further, Stoltz coaxes new life out of it, all the while creating the sound that he would so brilliantly perfect on albums like Circular Sounds and Below The Branches.

So Kelley, we are waiting, eagerly awaiting Double Exposure. But we are grateful to have been able to dive into Crockodials, rediscovering your early work, and our love for Echo and the Bunnymen, even as we had to put our hands over our mouth lest our airplane seat mates think this guy with the headphones on was stark raving mad.

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